Miskelly Furniture’s first-aid training helps save man’s life

Retailer recently has expanded the education effort to all 300 team members

FLOWOOD, Miss. — When Elizabeth Ann Howell awoke to her husband, Tyler, struggling with shortness of breath the night of Jan. 26, little did she know that her first-aid training would end up saving his life. But that’s what happened as she ended up performing CPR until first responders arrived.

Howell, director of people and culture at Miskelly Furniture, received her training as part of a program that’s been in place at the furniture retailer for the past four years. In addition to CPR, it teaches other basics of first aid ranging from helping a choking victim to how to treat an open wound.

“In that moment, the training that I had learned from our Miskelly CPR class kinda kicked in,” she recently told local news station WLBT3, which reported the Howells’ story earlier this week. “I called 911, put them on speakerphone, pulled him off the bed and started doing chest compressions, and so I was on the phone with 911 for nine minutes before the first responders got here.”

The training ended up helping save her husband’s life as he had gone into cardiac arrest, the station reported, adding that first responders shocked his heart back into rhythm. A physician at Baptist Medical Center, he was still on a defibrillator as of early this week but was expected to return to work this past Tuesday.

What began as a training program open primarily to management at the company’s seven stores about four years ago, it is now open to all 300 Miskelly associates. Some 180 of those individuals already have signed up for training, company Chief Retail Officer Caleb Miskelly told Home News Now.

“In January, we opened it to the rest of the team since we had a lot of team members that said they wanted to be certified,” said Miskelly, the brother of Elizabeth Ann Howell and brother-in-law to her husband, Tyler.

The training has carried over into February — which is recognized as National Heart Health Month — and beyond for those who want to be certified.

Miskelly said the training is part of the company’s efforts to help employees or customers in cases of an emergency. In addition to providing the first-aid training, each of its seven stores is equipped with an AED, or automated external defibrillator, which diagnoses cardiac or heart arrhythmias.

“If a team member had something that happened to them on the job, we wanted to be able to respond to that,” he said. “But we can also help customers, too.”

Tyler Howell said the experience opened his eyes about the importance of first-aid training.

“I’m just beyond grateful for this miracle, and being on the other side of health care, being on the patient side instead of the provider side, will certainly change the way that I practice medicine,” he told the station.

To see the station’s coverage of the story, click here.

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at tom@homenewsnow.com and at 336-508-4616.

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